Thursday, January 29, 2015


We’re the same age.

We were born in the Islands; I have been fortunate to have visited her home island on several occasions.  She has flown over 3-million miles; I have over 1-million miles in my Hawaiian Air account.

She represents inspiration and hope – folks on the island named her recent child ‘Mana‘olana’ (Hope.)

They call her ‘Wisdom.’

She lives on Midway, at least during the breeding season she can be found there.  She is joined by about a million other Laysan albatross, there.  She has had around 35 chicks, nesting each year within 15-feet of prior years’ nests.  She’s the oldest known wild bird.

The Laysan species of albatross traditionally mate with one partner for life and lay only one egg at a time, each year. It takes much of that year to incubate and raise the chick.

Laysan albatross are black and white seabirds named after Laysan Island. They stand almost 3-feet tall, weigh 6 to 7-pounds and have wingspans of more than 6-feet.

They spend most of their days out at sea and spend hours gliding on headwinds – they eat mostly fish, fish eggs, squid and crustaceans.

Laysan albatross live on both land and sea. The birds spend nearly half the year in the North Pacific Ocean, touching land only during breeding season.

Here’s a link to short video of Laysan Albatross mating ritual on Midway:

Here’s a link to short video of Laysan Albatross sitting on nests on Midway:

Here’s some of the “street view” from Google:

Its traditional name ‘moli’ means a bone tattoo needle, which was made from the bone of an albatross.

Albatross are famously mentioned in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,’ published in 1798 …

'God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!—
Why look'st thou so?'—With my cross-bow
I shot the Albatross.

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

The Mariner's act of shooting the albatross (that had once brought good luck to his ship) is the mother of irrational, self-defeating acts. He never offers a good explanation for why he does it, and his crewmates get so upset that they hang the dead albatross around his neck as a burden, so he won't forget what he did.

To have an albatross around your neck is to have a constant reminder of a big mistake you made. Instead of the gift that keeps on giving, it's the blunder that keeps on taking. The phrase has come to mean carrying a great burden.  (Schmoop)

Kuaiheilani, suggested as a mythical place, is the traditional name for what we refer to as Midway Atoll.  Described in the legend of Aukelenuiaiku, the origin of this name can be traced to an ancient homeland of the Hawaiian people, located somewhere in central Polynesia.  (Kikiloi)

According to historical sources, this island was used by Native Hawaiians even in the late-1800s as a sailing point for seasonal trips to this area of the archipelago.

Theodore Kelsey writes, “Back in 1879 and 1880 these old men used navigation gourds for trips to Kuaihelani, which they told me included Nihoa, Necker, and the islets beyond … the old men might be gone on their trips for six months at a time through May to August was the special sailing season.”  (Papahānaumokuākea MP, Cultural Impact Assessment)

Look at a map of the Pacific and you understand the reasoning for the “Midway” reference (actually, it’s a little closer to Asia than it is to the North American continent.)

Midway's importance grew for commercial and military planners. The first transpacific cable and station were in operation by 1903. In the 1930s, Midway became a stopover for the Pan American Airways' flying "clippers" (seaplanes) crossing the ocean on their five-day transpacific passage.

The US was inspired to invest in the improvement of Midway in the mid-1930s with the rise of imperial Japan. In 1938 the Army Corps of Engineers dredged the lagoon during this period and, that year, Midway was declared second to Pearl Harbor in terms of naval base development in the Pacific.

The construction of the naval air facility at Midway began in 1940. At that time, French Frigate Shoals was also a US naval air facility. Midway also became an important submarine advance base.

The reef was dredged to form a channel and harbor to accommodate submarine refit and repair. Patrol vessels of the Hawaiian Sea Frontier forces stationed patrol vessels at most of the islands and atolls.

The Battle of Midway (June 4-7, 1942) is considered the most decisive US victory and is referred to as the “turning point” of World War II in the Pacific.  The victory allowed the United States and its allies to move into an offensive position.

In 2000, Secretary of the Interior designated Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge as the Battle of Midway National Memorial, making it the first National Memorial designated on a National Wildlife Refuge.

Of all the Islands and atolls in the Hawaiian archipelago, while Midway is part of the US, it the only one that is not part of the State of Hawaiʻi.

Today, Midway is administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (a marine protected area encompassing all of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.)

The image shows Wisdom and her chick.  (USGS) In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

© Hoʻokuleana LLC 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Math’s Life Lessons

I wanted to lighten up today and move a bit away from history - and remind us of some Life Lessons from my favorite subject … Math.

Some might suggest my passion is history (talk to any of my former history teachers and you’ll soon learn the truth – back then, history was not a subject that interested me.)

Actually, it’s Numbers that talk to me … they help me see and explain the world around me.

Many who know me think I am weird for my apparent insatiable passion for Math.

Math is not just the quest to solve for the unknown (… as if that is not enough;) Math also helps describe how we should live our lives.

Bear with me for a few moments, while I either turn you to the Math Side, or confirm what many people already think of me.  (I proudly live up to my reputation as the Duke of Dork.)

Here are some important Math Life Lessons.

Math’s equal sign gives us a lesson on EQUALITY.

From grade school through research involving the most complicated mathematical expressions, there is blind faith in Math’s equal sign.

Definitively different looking items on either side of this symbol are indisputably the same.  Without second thought, we defend and protect the equal sign and proclaim equality of two distinctive things.

In life, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we looked at each other … whomever we are, from wherever we come, however each of us looks or whatever each of us believes … and unquestionably see ourselves as equal?

This simple Math concept can save the world.

While we are on the subject of the equal sign, Math also teaches us the GOLDEN RULE.

You know, he who has the most gold, rules … no, wait, that’s a lesson in compounding and the relationship of addition, multiplication and exponents; that’s not what I am referring to.

I am talking about the ethic of reciprocity - doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

We learn about this in Algebra - we call it balancing the equation, when we isolate a variable or solve an equation.  If you do one thing to one side of the equation, you must do the same thing to the other side.

In life, the same is true.  Treat people equally and treat them just as you wish to be treated.

Math teaches us the importance of WORKING TOGETHER.

This is illustrated in a tricky combination of geometry, trigonometry and physical science; so, bear with me, again.

Assume you need to get something from one point to another; say, up a hill.

In Math, we call it force to move a mass up a slope.  Use all your might and you can eventually get the object to the top.

However, if you and a friend push the same object, each of you uses less of your own muscle power (force) because you are working together.

In fact, you two working together, using each of your individual maximum force, can move twice the mass.

In Math, as in life … working together, you can accomplish more.

Here’s another Math Life Lesson – PROBLEM SOLVING.

In all Math problems, from the simplest to the most complex, the solution is simply the systematic addition, subtraction, multiplication or division of only 2 numbers at time.

So, in Math, when faced with an extensive, complicated problem, you solve it by planning and breaking it down into small component parts; the process is called evaluating and simplifying.

In life, our so-called ‘big’ problems can be solved the same way - slowly and systematically - by looking for and addressing the simple component solutions. (It’s kind of like ‘baby steps.’)

There is LOVE in Math.

OK, for many, not necessarily love *for* Math; but, really, love is found in Math.

It is best seen in 1 + 1 = 2.

First, look at the numbers.

1 … a simple vertical line.  By itself, it’s limited in character, scope and scale.  1 is the most basic, simplest and loneliest number.

But, put it with another lonely 1 and you get the most diverse, complicated integer of them all - 2 - a symbol made up of a curve, slope and straight line.

OK, now, we have a little audience participation.  Do this in your mind’s eye.

Just as who we are reflects on others … take that 2 and imagine its left side is reflected up against a mirror.  Can you see it?

That’s right.  When you take a lonely one and put it together with another lonely one … you have love with a solid foundation.

Makes your heart skip a little beat doesn’t it?

Welcome to the Math Side.

© 2015 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Archibald Campbell

Archibald Campbell was born at Wynford, near Glasgow, Scotland on July, 19, 1787. He received the common rudiments of education, and at the age of ten became apprentice to a weaver.

Before the term of his apprenticeship expired, however, a strong desire to visit remote countries induced him to go to sea; and in the year 1800, he started his life aboard ships.  He ended up with some Russians in the Aleutian Islands.

On the morning of the January 22, 1808, Campbell had his seal-skin boots fill with water, “the cold being so severe, the exercise of walking did not prevent from freezing. In a short time I lost all feeling in my feet”.  (Campbell)  Frostbitten, his feet were amputated.  He later sailed on the ‘Neva’ with the Russians for the Sandwich Islands.

The Neva had a crew of seventy-five seamen, belonging to the Russian imperial service, and was commanded by Captain Hageimeister, who had been bred in the British navy, and could speak English fluently.  They left December 11, 1808.

On January 27, 1809, “at day break, we discovered the mountains of Owhyhee, at the distance of ten leagues. In the afternoon, we were close in with the land, and coasted along the north side of the island.”  (Through Campbell’s observations and subsequent book, we get an idea of life and landscape of the Islands.)

“We passed the-foot of Mouna-kaa, one of the highest mountains in the world.  … a narrow tract of level ground lies between the base of the mountain and the sea, terminating in high abrupt cliffs; presenting at a distance a most barren appearance. On a nearer approach, however, we could observe numerous patches of cultivated land, and the lower parts of the mountain covered with wood.”

“Farther to the west, the plains are of greater extent, the country well wooded, and in a high state of cultivation; with many villages and houses, presenting every appearance of a numerous and industrious population.”

“We made sail in the evening, and reached Mowee the following day. … (and) weighed on the morning of tile 29th, and passing between the islands of Morokai and Ranai, reached the harbour of Hanaroora, on the south side of Wahoo, the same evening.”    (Campbell)

“Upon landing I was much struck with the beauty and fertility of the country, …  The village of Hanaroora, which consisted of several hundred houses, is well shaded with large cocoa-nut trees. The king’s residence, built close upon the shore, and surrounded by a pallisade upon the land side, was distinguished by the British colours and a battery of sixteen carriage guns”.

“This palace consisted merely of a range of huts, viz. the king’s eating-house, his sleeping-house, the queen’s house, a store, powder-magazine, and guard-house, with a few huts for the attendants, all constructed after the fashion of the country.”

“My appearance attracted the notice, and excited the compassion of the queen; and finding it was my intention to remain upon the islands, she invited me to take up my residence in her house. I gladly availed myself of this offer, at which she expressed much pleasure; it being a great object of ambition amongst the higher ranks to have white people to reside with them.”

Campbell noticed the King’s ship, “the Lily (Lelia) Bird, which at this time lay unrigged in the harbour.   …  Captain Hagemeister recommended me at the same time to the notice or the king, by informing him, that I could not only make and repair the sails of his vessels, but also weave the cloth of which they were made.”

The Neva remained in the harbor for three months, then haven taken provisions of salted pork and dried taro root, sailed for Kodiak and Kamchatka.  Campbell stayed in the Islands.

Campbell moved forward with making a small loom and weaving for the king.  “The making of the loom, from want of assistance, and want of practice, proved a very tedious job. I succeeded tolerably well at last; and having procured a supply of thread, spun by the women from the fibres of the plant of which their fishing lines are made, I began my operations.”

“After working a small piece, I took it to the king as a specimen. He approved of it in every respect except breadth … The small piece I wove he kept, and showed it to every captain that arrived as a specimen of the manufacture of the country.”  (Campbell)

For a while Campbell lived with Isaac Davis, “a Welshman, who had been about twenty years upon the island, and remained with him till the king gave me a grant of land about six months afterwards.”

“In the month of November, the king was pleased to grant me about sixty acres of land situated upon the Wymummee, or Pearlwater, an inlet of the sea about twelve miles to the west of Hanaroora (his farm was at Waimano.) I immediately removed thither; and it being Macaheite (Makahiki) time, during which canoes are tabooed, I was carried on men's shoulders.”

“We passed by foot-paths, winding through an extensive and fertile plain, the whole of which is• in the highest state of cultivation. Every stream was carefully embanked, to supply water for the taro beds. Where there was no water, the land was under crops 'of yams and sweet potatoes. The roads and numerous houses are shaded by cocoa-nut trees, and the sides of the mountains covered with wood to a great height.”

“In the end of February, I heard there was a ship at Hanaroora, and went up with a canoe-load of provisions, wishing to provide myself with clothes, and, if possible, a few books. She proved to be the Duke of Portland, South-sea whaler, bound for England.”

“When I learned this, I felt the wish to see my native country and friends once more so strong, that I could not resist the opportunity that now offered. …  the sores had never healed, and I was anxious for medical assistance, in the hopes of having a cure performed.”

“I was, indeed, leaving a situation of ease, and comparative affluence, for one where, labouring under the disadvantage of the loss of my feet, I knew I must earn a scanty subsistence. I was a tolerable sailmaker; and I knew, that if my sores healed, I could gain a comfortable livelihood at that employment.”

“The king was on board the ship at the time, and I asked his permission to take my passage home. He inquired my reason for wishing to quit the island, and whether I had any cause of complaint. I told him I had none; that I was sensible I was much better here than I could be any where else, but that I was desirous to see my friends once more.”

“He said, if his belly told him to go, he would do it; and that if mine told me so, I was at liberty.  He then desired me to give his compliments to King George. I told him that though born in his dominions, I had never seen King George; and that, even in the city where he lived, there were thousands who had never seen him.”

“He expressed much surprise at this, and asked if he did not go about amongst his people, to learn their wants, as he did? I answered, that he did not do it himself; but he had men who did it for him. Tamaahmaah shook his head at this, and said, that other people could never do it so well as he could himself.”  (Campbell)

“Having procured the king's permission to depart, I went on shore to take leave of my friends; particularly Isaac Davis, and my patroness, the queen, who had always treated me with the utmost kindness.”

“It will be believed that I did not leave Wahoo without the deepest regret. I had now been thirteen months upon the island; during which time I had experienced nothing but kindness and friendship from all ranks – from my much-honoured master, the king, down to the lowest native.”

“A crowd of people attended me to the boat; unaccustomed to conceal their feelings, they expressed them with great vehemence; and I heard the lamentations of my friends on shore long after I had reached the ship. … We sailed next day, being the 4th of March (1810.)”  (Campbell)

The image shows and 1810 map over Google Earth noting the Honolulu Harbor area – this is where Campbell first lived in the Islands.

© 2015 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Monday, January 26, 2015

Puʻu ʻOhau

Fishers generally refer to it as ‘Red Hill;’ its volcanic cinder, partially collapsed and exposed on the seaward side, gives it an easy name.  It’s not just a marker; fishers troll offshore with great success.

Nearshore is a marine fisheries management area; you can catch fish for personal consumption, but there is no aquarium fish collection permitted.

The hill is actually named Puʻu ʻOhau (hill of dew) and is the most conspicuous coastal landmark on the low coastal cliffs between Keauhou Bay (to the north) and Kealakekua (on the south;) it marks the boundary between North and South Kona.

Although the entire landform may be the “puʻu,” according to McCoy … the archaeological evidence tends to indicate that the area was used for general habitation purposes and was not reserved for only burial or other ritual uses that might be considered exclusionary.

This archaeological evidence suggests that there may have been a land use distinction between the flat bench and the steeper slopes of the puʻu although they are part of the same landform.

The matter of a burial on the puʻu helps us remember some others.

With the recent construction and extension of the Ane Keohokālole Highway from Palani road to Hina Lani, many in West Hawaii (although they generally reference the road as “Ane K”) are becoming more familiar with the name Keohokālole.

Analeʻa, Ane or Annie Keohokālole was a Hawaiian chiefess; she was born at Kailua-Kona, Hawaiʻi in 1816.  Through her father, she was descended from Kameʻeiamoku and Keaweaheulu, two of the four Kona Uncles that supported Kamehameha I.

Her first marriage was to John Adams Kuakini; they had no children.  Kuakini was an important adviser to Kamehameha I in the early stages of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i.

When the Kingdom's central government moved to Lāhainā in 1820, Kuakini’s influence expanded on Hawaiʻi Island, with his appointment as the Royal Governor of Hawaiʻi Island, serving from 1820 until his death in 1844.

During his tenure, Kuakini built some of the historical sites that dominate Kailua today.  The Great Wall of Kuakini, probably a major enhancement of an earlier wall, was one of these.

The Great Wall of Kuakini extends in a north-south direction for approximately 6 miles from Kailua to near Keauhou, and is generally 4 to 6-feet high and 4-feet wide;’ the Great Wall of Kuakini separated the coastal lands from the inland pasture lands.

Speculation has ranged from military/defense to the confinement of grazing animals; however, most seem to agree it served as a cattle wall, keeping the troublesome cattle from wandering through the fields and houses of Kailua.

Kuakini also built Huliheʻe Palace; it was completed in 1838, a year after the completion of Mokuʻaikaua Church (Lit., section won (during) war,) the first stone church on the Island of Hawaiʻi.

In 1833, Analeʻa married Caesar Kapaʻakea, a chief of lesser rank and her first cousin. Caesar’s father, Kamanawa II was no ‘ordinary’ ranking chief; he was the grandson of Kameʻeiamoku, one of the ‘royal twins.’

He was named after his famous grand uncle, the other royal twin.  (The twins are on Hawaiʻi’s Royal Coat of Arms; Kameʻeiamoku is on the right holding a kahili and Kamanawa on the left holding a spear.)

Caesar’s father has one other notable distinction; he was found guilty of poisoning his wife (Caesar’s mother) and was the first to be hanged for murder under the newly formed constitution and penal laws (1840.)

OK, back to Caesar and Analeʻa – they had several children.  Most notable were a son, who on February 13, 1874 became King Kalākaua, and a daughter, who on January 29, 1891 became Queen Liliʻuokalani - the Kalākaua Dynasty that ruled Hawaiʻi from 1874 to 1893.

Oh, the burial at Puʻu ʻOhau?  Ane Keohokālole’s mother, Kamaeokalani (Kamae) is buried at its top.

When I was at DLNR, the matter of dealing with the burial came up within the first few days of my term (in 2003.)  Back in 1999, members of the ʻOhana Keohokālole requested that protective measures be put in place on the puʻu.

The matter was on the Hawaiʻi Island Burial Council’s agenda; the family’s suggested means of protection is the construction of a six (6) foot rock wall around Puʻu ʻOhau.  After talking with family members, it was decided to order the wall to be placed on the 120-foot contour.

The image shows Puʻu ʻOhau (Google Earth.)  In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Queen Kapiʻolani’s Canoe

In April 1887, Queen Kapiʻolani and Princess Liliʻuokalani traveled to England to participate in the celebration of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.  They first sailed to San Francisco, traveled by train across the North American continent, spent some time in Washington and New York; they then sailed to England.

Upon their return from Europe, Queen Kapiʻolani and her entourage stopped again in Washington, DC. At that time, they toured the National Museum, later to become the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. As a result of that visit, Queen Kapiʻolani gifted the museum with a Hawaiian outrigger canoe to add to their collection.  (OHA)

“The royal yacht of Queen Kapiʻolani of Hawaii is in the National museum, and may be passed and re-passed without attracting the notice of the sight-seeker.”

“High against the eastern wall it is placed, and from the floor little can be seen except the small sail of straw. This royal boat was once a log, and with rude instruments was hollowed into the semblance of a canoe, making a craft 18 feet long and but 18 inches wide.”

“It is such a boat as the Hawaiians used long before Columbus sailed on his voyage to a new country, and it was in such a boat that the Hawaiians sailed from the western Islands in the Pacific to the Samoan islands.”

“The little craft is what is known as an outrigger canoe, and has a small float extended on arms from either side of the canoe. This plan renders it impossible for the boat to be upset.”

“The sail is of the rudest kind, made of plaited straw, supported on rudely-hewn masts.  In the boat is a gourd to be used for bailing out the water and also a net with which to catch fish.”

“In such a boat the proud queen of the Hawaiians went forth, on the waters of her country to woo the cool breezes of the ocean. In the bottom of the boat is found the strangest thing of all, a small English flag of the commonest type, which the queen was wont to place in the stern of her pleasure boat.”

“… Liliʻuokalani was asked lately if she remembered this craft of her royal sister-in-law, and answered that she did most distinctly, and even related the circumstance which led to the boat being given to the museum.”

She noted, “I accompanied Queen Kapiʻolani on her visit to England in 1887, and on our return we stopped for some time in this city. One day I accompanied the queen and her party, consisting of Col. Boyd, Col Iaukea and Gen. Dominis, to the museum.”

“After looking around the different apartments the curator showed us a boat, something like a canoe, with a man at the bow, and asked the queen if our canoes were like that in Hawaii. The queen, said yes, and that she would be pleased to contribute one to the museum on her return to her own country." (Washington Post; Decatur Daily, August 30, 1897)

When Queen Kapiʻolani sent this fishing canoe to the Smithsonian, it was already quite old. A hole at the bottom of the canoe suggests that it had hit a reef and would have been difficult to repair. (Smithsonian)

Outrigger canoes of this kind were formerly quite extensively used for fishing and other purposes by the natives in Hawaiʻi, in the Sandwich Islands, but in recent years they have been superseded by boats more conventional in their construction and better adapted to the needs of the fisherman.  (Smithsonian)

This is an open, sharp-ended, round-bottomed, keelless dugout canoe, with low superstructure fastened to upper part of hull, and provided with small balance log lashed to the ends of two outriggers.  It is rigged with a single mast and loose-footed spritsail.  (Smithsonian)  The canoe was added to the Smithsonian collection on January 25, 1888.

The canoe was refurbished for a subsequent display in the National Museum of Natural History exhibit “Na Mea Makamae o Hawaiʻi - Hawaiian Treasures,” 2004-2005.

Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education (SCMRE) collaborated closely with the National Museum of Natural History to restore a 19th-century Hawaiian outrigger canoe; it is reportedly the oldest existing Hawaiian canoe in the world.

In the years since Hawaii's Queen Kapiʻolani presented the canoe to the Smithsonian, the boat's wood had deteriorated. A SCMRE team, including a senior furniture conservator, restored the bow, stern and an outrigger boom and replaced the original coconut-fiber lashings. Wherever possible they used materials that were both handmade and native to Hawaii.  (Smithsonian)

Throughout the years of late-prehistory, AD 1400s - 1700s, and through much of the 1800s, the canoe was a principal means of travel in ancient Hawaiʻi.  Canoes were used for interisland and inter-village coastal travel.

Most permanent villages initially were near the ocean and at sheltered beaches, which provided access to good fishing grounds, as well as facilitating convenient canoe travel.

Although the canoe was a principal means of travel in ancient Hawaiʻi, extensive cross-country trail networks enabled gathering of food and water and harvesting of materials for shelter, clothing, medicine, religious observances and other necessities for survival.

These trails were usually narrow, following the topography of the land.  Sometimes, over ‘a‘ā lava, they were paved with water-worn stones.   Back then, land travel was only foot traffic, over little more than trails and pathways.

The image shows Kapiʻolani’s Canoe in the Na Mea Makamae o Hawaiʻi exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History, 2004–2005.  In addition, I have included other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

“Some Kind of Mettle”

After a brief stay in the Islands, in 1839, John Augustus Sutter, a Swiss seeking his fortune in America, brought a small group of native Hawaiians with him to California.

They worked for him and eventually intermarried with local native American families. They settled in the area of Vernon, which is now called Verona, where the Feather River flows into the Sacramento River in South Sutter County. (co-sutter-ca-us)

At the time of Sutter's arrival in California, the territory had a population of only 1,000 Europeans, in contrast with 30,000 Native Americans. At the time, it was part of Mexico and the governor, Juan Bautista Alvarado, granted him permission to settle.

In order to qualify for a land grant, Sutter became a Mexican citizen in 1840; the following year, he received title to about 49,000-acres and named his settlement New Helvetia, or "New Switzerland." He called his compound Sutter's Fort.

In his memoirs, Sutter recalled the Hawaiians, using a name then-common to describe Hawaiian workers, "I could not have settled the country without the aid of these Kanakas."  They built the first settlers' homes in Sacramento – hale pili (grass shacks) made with California willow and bamboo.

Sutter later ordered that a sawmill be built in the Coloma Valley on the South Fork of the American River, about 50-miles from the fort. In the process of deepening the millrace (the channel of water where the flow of current causes the mill wheel to turn,) James Marshall made an important discovery that changed things, a lot.

On January 24, 1848, a young Virginian named Henry William Bigler recorded in his diary: “This day some kind of mettle was found in the tail race that looks like gold first discovered by James Martial, the boss of the Mill.”  (csun)

Marshall and Sutter tried their best to keep the discovery of gold quiet until the construction of Sutter's mill was completed; the news leaked out, and the stampede began.  Some 300,000-people came to California from the rest of the United States and abroad.

“Forty-Niner” has become the collective label for those who participated in the famous California Gold Rush. Quite a few people arrived in 1848, and many came after 1849; however, it was the year 1849 which witnessed the large wave of gold-seekers.  (Hinckley)

The first large group of Americans to arrive were several thousand Oregonians who came down the Siskiyou Trail.  News reached Hawaiʻi on June 24 on a boat that had departed San Francisco on May 24.

A large proportion of the Americans and Europeans residing in the Islands, along with many native Hawaiians, headed east; as many ships as were available were outfitted for the journey to the Pacific Coast.

When news of the Gold Rush reached Canton in 1848, thousands of young Chinese mortgaged their futures and boarded boats to "Gum Shan," or "Gold Mountain," as California became named.  (By 1852, 25,000 Chinese had reached Gold Mountain.)

New Zealanders received the news in November 1848 when an American whaler put into port with several newspapers from Hawaiʻi, and Australians learned about the discoveries a month later.

All of these groups predated Americans arriving from the US East Coast, who had to wait until trading ships from Asia who had stopped in San Francisco or Hawaiʻi either rounded the tip of South America or reached the Isthmus of Panama and crossed it with the news.

Kanaka colonies sprang up throughout the gold country, and California’s first "Good Humor" man, Charlie O’Kaaina, supposedly sold ice cream from his ice wagon in the Sierra foothills. (Magagnini)

Place names like Kanaka Creek in Sierra County and Kanaka Bar in Trinity County tell us of the growing presence of Hawaiians in gold country.  “Hawaiians also migrated to Yolo County, California to participate in the Gold Rush and created their own Kanaka Village.”

“There is evidence that Hawaiians settled across California in the late-1800s and even intermarried with Native Americans. Many scholars speculate that Hawaiians migrated to the mainland in order to gain more economic opportunity and to flee from the dramatic Westernization that was changing the face of Hawaiʻi.”  (pbs-org)

The California Gold Rush drawing Hawaiians to the continent was not its only effect on the Islands; the Hawaiian economy was affected in several ways – good and not-so-good.

Prior to the Gold Rush, supporting the Pacific whaling and trading fleets and trade between the West Coast and Hawaiʻi was the scale of the Hawaiʻi participation.  The scale of that significantly changed with the Gold Rush.

Hawaiʻi was only three to five weeks away, and with the growing population drawn to the gold fields, in addition to provisioning ships, Hawaiʻi farmers were feeding the gold seekers on the continent.

There were some down sides; this also brought a marked increase in the prices of consumer goods, especially food, caused by the great increase in agricultural exports to California, which offered very profitable new markets.  (Rawls)

Likewise, the exodus to the continent created a critical labor shortage in Hawaiʻi, where a sizeable number of sugar plantation workers migrated to the California gold fields.

The parting of workers from the plantations between 1848 and 1853 was so large, Hawaiʻi sugar producers began to seek Chinese immigrants to fill the gap.  (Rawls)

As the California Gold Rush demonstrates, the success of the Island’s economy was largely tied to events that occurred outside the Islands, especially on the continent. The American Civil War’s influence on Hawaiʻi’s fledgling sugar industry is another example of that, starting in 1861.

The Civil War virtually shut down Louisiana sugar production during the 1860s, enabling Hawai‘i to fill part of the void left by the absence of then-blockaded southern exports – at elevated prices.

Hawaiian-grown sugar soon replaced much of this southern sugar through the duration of the conflict.  By the end of the war, over thirty extremely prosperous plantations were in operation and expanded to new levels previously unheard of before the war’s commencement.

The image shows the Sutter mill in 1852.  In addition, I have added others similar images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Friday, January 23, 2015


Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) unified Japan by defeating his enemies at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. He was made Shōgun in 1603 and set up his headquarters at Edo (modern Tokyo.)  The Edo period is also known as the Tokugawa period; Japan was ruled by the Shōgun of the Tokugawa family.

For reasons of national security, from 1639 the Shōgunate ordered that contacts with the outside world be severely limited. Japan’s only regular contacts were with the Dutch, Chinese and Koreans.  (British Museum)

Fast forward through a couple centuries of Japan isolation to the mid-1850s ... the US hoped Japan would agree to open certain ports so American vessels could begin to trade. In addition to interest in the Japanese market, America needed Japanese ports to replenish coal and supplies for the commercial whaling fleet.

On July 8, 1853, four black ships led by USS Powhatan and commanded by Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, anchored at Edo (Tokyo) Bay. The Japanese thought the ships were “giant dragons puffing smoke” (they had not ever seen steam ships with smoke from their stacks.)

“On that great historic event when the Perry Mission from the United States landed at Uraga (Japan) in 1853, Manjirō served as interpreter.  No more suitable person could have been found in all Japan.  Manjirō knew the American spirit and desires."

"Any blunder on his part might have resulted in an international disaster.  As it was, the Perry mission was a great success.  In spite of the powerful conservatism of Japan’s ruling classes at that time, the country was opened to world-wide commerce."  (Japanese Embassy; Millicent Library)

Let’s look back …

Manjirō was born January 23, 1827 in Nakahama, Kochi Torishima prefecture of Japan during the isolation period. He had a tough life as a young man, the death of his father at age 9 forced him to work to support his family.

By age 14 he was part of a five man fishing boat (Manjirō, Jūsuke, Denzō, Goemon and Toraemon.) During one trip in January 1841, they were caught in a storm and stranded on Torishima Island, off the coast of Japan.

Then, the log book of Captain William Whitfield on the ‘John Howland’ noted (June 27, 1841,) “This day light wind from S. E. Isle in sight at 1 P.M. Sent in two boats to see if there was any turtle, found 5 poor distressed people on the isle, took them off, could not understand anything from them more than that they was hungry.”  (Millicent Museum)

After 6-months at sea (arriving in Hawaiʻi,) Whitfield made Manjirō (now called 'John Mung' by the crew) an offer - stay in Hawaiʻi and find a ride home, or come with him to America and receive an education. Manjirō continued to the continent with Whitfield, arriving in New Bedford on May 3, 1843 (reportedly, the first Japanese person to live in the US.)

There, he joined the Whitfield household (the Captain had been a bachelor, but shortly after he married) and Manjirō moved with them to the Whitfield home in Fairhaven (as a foster son, not a servant.)

Not accepted at the Whitfield’s church, the family joined the Unitarian Church; a member of the congregation there was the Delano family (a grandson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt later became US president.)

In the following years the young foreigner became well known to the Fairhaven townspeople as Captain Whitfield treated him like a son. He went to his first school ever (the Old Stone School) after being tutored by Miss Allen, a local teacher and neighbor of the captain. He later learned higher level math, navigation and surveying at the Bartlett School.

Then, an opportunity to go to sea came up; the Captain was away, Mrs Whitfield gave her permission for Manjirō to go back to the Pacific and wrote a letter of introduction to a family friend, chaplain of the Seamen’s Bethel in Honolulu, Reverend Samuel C Damon.

He eventually returned to the Island and was repatriated with his friends (Jūsuke had died prior to Manjirō’s return.)  After three years at sea, he returned to New Bedford in 1849 (never making it back to his home in Japan – though he yearned to return.)

In October 1849, he got gold fever and rushed to California.  After only 70-days in the mines, he earned $600 – about the equivalent of 3-years wages as a whaler.  He then headed for Honolulu to encourage his 3 shipmates to return to Japan with him.

They found a ship (‘Sara Boyd’) headed for Shanghai; with the help of Damon and others, they raised enough funds to buy and provision a small boat (‘Adventure’) that they would store on the Sara Boyd and, when they were close to Japan, use it to make it to the islands.

Damon also obtained for Manjiro a US passport and helped him devise a plan to get safely back to his homeland.  Next they loaded the Adventure onto a larger American vessel which dropped the small boat off in the waters off present-day Okinawa.  (Yamamoto)

On February 3, 1851, 10-years after being shipwrecked, Manjirō, Denzō and Goemon landed on an Okinawan beach (Toraemon did not make the trip, he stayed in Honolulu.)  He eventually saw his mother, again.

The Japan leadership recognized the value Manjirō’s fluency in the English language; in addition, he was the only person in Japan who had extensive knowledge of English and American culture at the time.  Manjirō was raised to lower rank of samurai due to his usefulness to the Government.

Manjirō began to work for the Japan government; he was given a higher rank of samurai and retainer to the Shōgun, and, as such, he earned the right to carry a family name (he chose Nakahama as his surname, after his hometown.)

He became a teacher at the Tosa School, lecturing on American democracy, on freedom and equality, on the independent spirit, and on his travels on the world's seas.  (Keio)

Manjirō tutored senior officers on the geography and history of the US, and the physical and mental characteristics of Americans.  He described American politics and American expectations from Japan and told them how to build and navigate western ships.

With Manjirō’s encouragement, the Shōgunate discarded the 200-years isolation and took the first step toward opening the country in his negotiations with Commodore Perry.  It is impossible to measure the service rendered by Manjirō in enabling Japan to accept the Japan-United States Friendship Treaty.

Manjirō’s contributions to the modernization of Japan were invaluable.  The Japanese relied heavily on his language skills and knowledge of the West.

America’s 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, later said, "When John Manjirō returned to Japan, it was as if America had sent its first ambassador. Our envoy Perry could enjoy so cordial a reception because John Manjirō had made Japan's central authorities understand the true face of America.”  (Manjirō Society)

The Shōgunate sent a delegation to America in 1860 to exchange ratifications of the Japan-US Commercial Treaty. Manjirō boarded the ‘Kanrin-maru’ as instructor and translator.

The success of the Kanrin-maru voyage across the Pacific impressed the US side with the skill and abilities of the Japanese, and became a basis for the success of later bilateral diplomatic negotiations.  (Keio)  Manjiro later taught at Kaiser Gakko, forerunner of Toko Imperial University.  He died in 1898 at the age of 71.

Manjirō’s contributions to the modernization of Japan were invaluable.  He worked hard to establishing good communication between Japanese and Americans.

Both East and West recognized the importance of the friendship and faith Whitfield had in taking the young Manjirō into his home.  In 1987, Fairhaven and Tosashimizu, Japan formalized a sister city agreement (Crown Prince Akihito, now Emperor of Japan, visited Fairhaven at that time.)  (Fairhaven has a ‘Manjiro Trail,’ highlighting some of the sites, there.)

Gifts of samurai swords were given to the City of Fairhaven and Damon.  A short film ‘Friend Ships’ documents the relationship of Manjirō and Whitfield.  (Lots of information from Rosenbach Museum, Millicent Museum and Whitfield-Manjiro.)

The image shows Manjirō as a younger man.  In addition, I have included other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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